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Social Functional Freewill


By admin - Posted on 14 November 2010

[Nanook is talking with Father Vincent. Nanook is italic type.]

Functional free will for society – outside direction

“Now, let’s switch to understanding free will as a function of society. For an authoritarian society, ‘free will’ is a way to justify physical punishment. Authoritarian models, like the Old Testament, are based on the animal behavior of humans. Animals, including humans, respond strongly to pain. So, to get people to do what you want, physical pain is an OBVIOUS approach. If free will, in a material sense, is DEFINED as allowing a person’s brain process to run without outside interference, then physical punishment can be justified when people break the rules.

But, as I just mentioned for Naturalism, this is a denial of how the free will principle really works. It denies the influence society has to guide the actions of individuals. It denies the influence society has to shape human thinking. And, it denies the way cause and effect work in our brains.

For example, you are a soldier. You are told to assault a hill. You do it. Are you acting out of free will? Or are you just obeying orders? And what if the action results in unintended consequences? The hill was really a ‘friendly zone’ and you killed your own troops. Or, you grew up in a ghetto. The only way you could survive was to learn the code of the streets. You joined a gang and learned from them. Eventually you were caught robbing a store. The result was sending you to jail. Was your way of life elected by free will?

The important factor here is OUTSIDE DIRECTION. While you might be using free will to decide to follow directions from outside yourself, once you start following those directions, free will has been released. Adopting a “follow someone else’s commands” position puts you in a non-internally directed reality. This breaks the continuity of “individual” free-will and introduces the role of SOCIAL FREE WILL. But, a set of directions can’t be considered free will. The directions are a summary of a free will process performed by some person or group. They are NOT the free will process of the person himself. And this supports the Naturalism concept of influence by our social environment when we observe all the processes we learn based on social rules.

Once we understand that influence, it tells us we need to make some radical changes in society. So many existing social institutions have been established on an authoritarian model. They propagate the model. It keeps our society in a state of confusion.”

“Sure. If society also has free will, and is allowed to make choices, then it must also be subject to moral rules. This would apply to businesses and institutions like schools, as well as government organizations. Ayn Rand said that the key to RESPONSIBILITY is choice. That means, where any group has choices, they must also be held to a standard of responsibility.”

“Precisely! My previous approach works here as well. So, let’s call it SOCIAL FUNCTIONAL FREEWILL.”